Monday, November 25, 2013

Goodbye Elder Brose!

Wow you all are really busy! But I guess that is what happens this time of the year. All those kids look pretty grown up since I have seen them last! We have had a pretty fun week over here. Like I said last week, we got transfer calls on thursday and my next companion is Elder Gubler! He was the assistent to president for the last four transfers and he will go home in just four weeks. So I am getting a double kill. Elder Gubler is really awesome and I already know him because he was AP and he was in the same apartment in Vienna with Elder Stilger, plus Elders Gubler and Brose were zone leaders together in vienna. So we were both pretty excited to find out that he was coming here.
Elder Brose is going home on Thanksgiving
It is getting pretty cold over here now and the are starting to put up all the christmas markets in the town center. No lights yet but it won't be long I'm sure. The two other elders in our apartment have been making paper snow flakes at night and at lunch for a while and the top floor has a ton of snow flakes hanging from the ceiling so we are starting to get pretty excited. We even had an eating appointment with one of the families in our ward and the wife, sister ryan, made a really awesome thanksgiving for us and we listened to christmas music the whole time. That made me really excited for christmas!
We did a ton of walking this week! on thursday and friday together we walked for a total of about 12 hours so we were pretty happy that we had eating apointments on saturday and sunday. The great thing about this area is that the chocolate and snacks are all amazing, and you don't have to worry about how much you eat because you go and walk for like 5 hours straight and it's like nothing even happened!
The ward here is really awesome because it is made up of a lot of really young families with kids. it makes it alot easier to socialize when everybody is still pretty young. Our ward mission leader, Kevin, is way awesome and he really trys to be our good friends. He really likes Elder Brose and I because we make alot of jokes with the ward. We had dinner with him last night and he showed us his book from his mission that has entries from companions and photos and things like that. He served in this mission as well so it is fun to talk about how different it is now.
Zone Conference
I am pretty sad that Elder Brose is leaving because we are really good friends already, but at the same time, It is time for him to go so that I can steal his bed. My bed is just a board with a mattress on it, and he has a really springy bed with a heater right at the head which will be nice when it gets cold. I have been pretty jealous of that bed. I won't tell Elder Gubler.
I don't really know what else to tell you all about this last week. It was really cold and we talked to a lot of people and had tons of fun like always. I am really loving this area a lot and it looks like I might be here for quite some time so I am a happy camper. Again, let me know if any of you want some swiss/german stuff for christmas. I am probably the guy to talk to if you want some nice chocolate. Well, have a nice week everybody! I Love you and I pray for you. Thanks for writing and for sending the pictures. Talk to you next week!

Elder Eldredge

Monday, November 18, 2013

Temple Trip and One-Third Done

It sounds like you all had a pretty awesome week! Hearing about the snow really makes me excited to see what this place will look like when it does snow. And I can't believe how big hogan looks! All of those kids are going to look so different when I see them!
We had a pretty awesome week here as well! Sadly we didn't get to do as much "missionary work" as we would have liked because we had tons of meetings. On tuesday we had zo9ne training in St. Gallen which took the whole day, and on thursday we had zone conference in wetzlikon which also took the whole day. And also, I didn't tell you yet, but a family in our ward invited us to go with them to the temple. We went on friday with them and drove in the car all the way to Bern and we went through the temple! It was way cool because only the missionaries that live in switzerland are allowed to go to the temple, and even though we live in germany, we belong to a swiss zone so president Miles let us go.
Our trip to the temple was pretty exciting! we met with the members who were taking us at 7 o'clock and it was about a two hour car ride. The Bern temple is the first temple in europe and it is really beautiful! We were really excited walking up to it. We spent a long time inside the temple before coming out and taking alot of pictures. It was also really interesting because all of the workers in the temple spoke italian and no german. So we got to play a few games of sharades! But the ward building is right next to the temple and as we were walking by it, we saw our mission presidents car which reminded us that the bern zone was having their zone conference, so we went in and said hello while they were eating lunch. President was pretty surprised to see us and I got to see some of my friends that I hadn't seen the MTC. I have now also been in every major city in our mission besides stuttgart and freiburg. I will make sure to send some pictures of the temple today.
German is going really well and I feel really confident with it. I am able to express myself pretty much all the time and I am starting to really master the difficult parts of the language. I am really lucky to have always had native germans speakers either in my apartment or in my district so I have gotten a lot of practice.
This wednesday will be my 8 month mark and that is really hard for me to believe! That is already an entire third of my mission just gone like that! I don't really like it. Some times the time just goes by way too fast and I know how sad i will be when it is all over and it will have felt like it didn't take long enough. But I guess that is the way that it is.
This thursday we will all get transfer calls and I will find out who my next companion is! I really hope that I will get to train. I think it would just be fun so I will be happy if it happens. It is weird knowing for sure that i will be getting a new companion because elder brose is leaving but I feel like I know our area well enough now that I am ready for it.
The work here is going pretty good as well. We find a good amount of potentials, our problem is that most of them have a hard time turning into investigators but one of our investigators wants to be baptized pretty soon and his brother might have some interest as well. We got a referral from church headquarters and a women wanted a book of mormon and the Finding Faith in Christ DVD so we brought them by and she was really interested in coming to church. She isn't our investigator yet but we will see what happens with her.
I hope that you all have another amazing week and keep having tons of fun! Thanks for sending a package! I'll make sure not to open it until Christmas. Let me know if you would like something from germany/switzerland that I could send your way. They do have some pretty tasty chocolate here!

Elder Eldredge 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Black Hole

Those kids really did a good job at destroying that bear! That was a pretty impressive photo! It sounds like you all had a pretty awesome week. Marions sounded amazing! I could really do with a nice hamburger and a shake! But i guess swiss food will have to do for now.
We had a lot of fun in the last week! We spent some time helping some of our members move apartments, and luckily both their new and old apartment were on the first floor! They had so much stuff, I was amazed! But we had fun because alot of the other guys from our ward came and helped as well and they are all really funny.
I had an exchange this week with the zone leaders in Winterthur which was pretty cool except that it is a two man apartment in winterthur so it was a little quiet. But this guy took me and elder Torapeinen (the zone leader) to this really nice italian restaraunt and I ate tons of gnochi and it was awesome! I started to hurt because I ate so much but I just had to eat the cake too.
On saturday and sunday we had stake conference which pretty much took away all of our time on saturday ond most of our day on sunday. But the conference was really good! The best part about it was that I got to see the elders that work in germany and austria! We call switzerland the black hole because all of the european elders get sent there and than almost never come out. So Elder Brose, I, and two other people, are the only americans that get to work in switzerland. We sometimes make jokes that president gave us space suits and tied a rope to our ankles so that we could go into the black hole and someday be pulled out again. But ya it was good to see all of our friends that we haven't seen for a while.
I tried to send some photos a few weeks ago but i didn't really get to it before my time was up but I will try again today.
With regards to the question about the language differences; The differences are huge. In germany, they speak really good german compared to what I had in Austria, but it still isn't amazingly beautiful german. But in switzerlan, they pretty much don't even speak german anymore. So many of the sounds are changed and they make alot of harsh, back of the throat, sounds. They also have a smaller vocabulary in switzerland. Also, in german, there are three different types of past tense, but in switzerland they only use one. So it takes a bit of time before you understand. But they have to speak normal german when they give talks or classes so it is ok at church.
Well thanks for writing! I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Eldredge

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's not an angel - it's just a Turkish Guy

Parker's New District (Photo courtesy of Sister Miles)  His companion, Elder Brose, is on the left.
Those halloween costumes look pretty cool! Sadly nobody over here really does anything for halloween. There were some parties that we saw signs for, and a few kids had some costumes on. They thought that we were trying to be hogwarts characters. But other than that we kinda forgot that it was even halloween.
Life here in Konstanz is pretty great! To answer the questions, there are four missionaries in our apartment, and we live in germany. The other two elders walk to switzerland each day and we work in germany. We are allowed to go into switzerland anytime though. And because it is a swiss zone, and elder Brose is the district leader, we do a lot of exchanges in switzerland. I worked in St. Gallen on wednesday and thursday actually. It was pretty fun and I learned some more swiss german (Swiss german is just simplified, less pretty sounding german).
We had interviews on tuesday with president Miles in Winterthur. Interviews are always combined with district meeting and it took a long time because my district is huge. We have twelve missionaries in out district, making it tied for the biggest district in our mission. We do a lot of exchanges because elder brose is the district leader. I held an exchange in konstanz on my fourth day, and we somehow only got lost about two times. It was pretty amazing.
We have been having a lot of fun over here! It is a lot more fun to be in a four man apartment, and I am glad that I will be here for christmas. It would be a pretty quiet christmas with just two people. Luckily we haven't gotten any snow so far but it will probably come soon. It has been raining a ton lately which isn't the best because we walk everywhere and the rain means that there are less people on the streets. But we are doing really well with finding people who give us numbers or addresses! Our problem is that none of them are really turning out to be very good investigators. One of the problems that a lot of missionaries here have is that there a lot of people who live here but are from other countries, which is only a problem because most of them don't have a job, don't speak german, and can only live here for a certain amount of time. And these are in most cases the people who are most open to being taught. But if they don't speak german and they only speak bad english, then it is hard for the ward to help them very much. But there is a woman who we are teaching who wants to be rebaptized before christmas and her 16 year old daughter has a good amount of interest in the church as well so we are hoping to set a baptismal date for the two of them this week!
The ward here is really cool but some of them have a really hard time remembering my name because it is really hard for them to really say correctly. At church, people are always coming up to get a better look at how it is spelled and the ask me how to say it. I have been finding it harder and harder to say myself because nobody has said it right in a long time. The most common thing that people say is "Elder Elgreg." It really made me laugh at first but now it is just normal.
I don't know if I ever told you all about what a döner is, but it is basically the best food on earth. It is a fresh baked bread taco sort of thing, with a lot of thin meat slices in it, and than you put on onions, lettuce, tomatoes, this awesome yoghurt döner sauce, cabbage, and sometimes some cheese. Everytime I eat one I think it was made by and angel, so I turn around to say thanks and it's just a turkish guy. But it's still that good! They have a really awesome Döner shop here and I only need to buy a few more before I get a free one!
Well anyways, things over here are good as always! I hope everybody has a great week and has a lot of fun! I love you all and I will talk to you next week!

Elder Eldredge